If you ask Matt Davis, Michael Jackson is still alive and well. Davis — the star of The CW's brand new mystery series, Cult, about a reporter who teams up with a television assistant to investigate the crazy-obsessive fans surrounding a TV show after his brother, a superfan, disappears — loves a good conspiracy theory.
"As much as I would love for Elvis to be alive — I love Elvis — at this point unfortunately I think that Elvis is dead. I do believe, however, that Michael Jackson is still alive," Davis tells Hollywood.com. "I believe he is probably dressed in a burka somewhere in the Middle East. I firmly believe that. I believe he's walking around somewhere with a head scarf covering his face, probably living in some sheikh's palace just disconnected from the whole world. That's what I hope. I love Michael Jackson. I miss him."
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The plot of Cult was a secret even to its stars, who didn't find out what was happening until their scripts for the next episode were delivered. "As every script came out, it was like 'Oh, really?' Every episode was a surprise," star Jessica Lucas, who plays Skye, a television assistant who teams up Davis' Jeff to uncover the truth surrounding the mystery of the show-within-the-show. Cult is a boon for conspiracy theorists, who will have plenty of clues to unravel as the season progresses.
Since The CW is still keeping the show's plot close to the vest, Hollywood.com decided to take another path and quiz the Cult stars on their favorite pop culture conspiracy theories.
Davis, Lucas, and Robert Knepper, who plays creepy cult leader Billy Grimm (and the actor behind him, Roger), seem aligned on the Elvis issue. Knepper says after bonding with a security guard during a trip to Graceland, he's of the mind that Elvis is dead. "Oh, I know he's in there because my sister was in the emergency room when they brought him in and he was deader than a doorknob," Knepper says the guard told him when they chatted about Elvis' grave. "As far as that theory goes, I'm pretty sure he's dead because I trust that guard," he says.
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Lucas is a skeptic about most things. "I am the most realistic person, so I have to see it to believe it. You're going to have to show me that Elvis isn't gone, that they're actually alive for me to believe it," she says. "I wish Tupac were still alive because I love him!"
What about the most recent Hollywood conspiracy theory: that Beyonce (a member of the Illuminati?) didn't actually carry daughter Blue Ivy , but a surrogate did. "I saw that tape too, of her belly looking like it caved in, but no! I would've been much more inclined to believe that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes didn't actually have Suri or something, but I don't believe that Beyonce didn't [have Blue Ivy]," Lucas says.
Color Davis surprised that it was even a question. "What?! Oh good lord, I hadn't heard that one! I wouldn't be surprised. I mean, the Illuminati will stop at nothing to deceive people, even if it means Beyonce didn't really have a baby. That's what I'm convinced — the sole purpose of the Illuminati is not global control, it's just to deceive people. It's just to give people conspiracies to talk about. So thank you, Illuminati, for another one, which is Beyonce didn't really have Blue Ivy. I didn't know that. Can't wait to spread that one."
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Davis is more certain about Suri's parentage. "That Suri kid is so beautiful, and to me looks just like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, so I'm sorry. They had that baby."
Cult airs Tuesdays at 9 PM ET/PT on The CW.
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean
[Photo Credits: Daniel Deme/WENN; WENN(2); FameFlynet]
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Poor Jennifer Lawrence, rushing up from the front row to grab her statue for Best Actress in a dress that looks like it won first prize in the Build a Wedding Dress Out of Toilet Paper contest. She fell down. Well, she actually slipped on the banana peel that we all planted there for Anne Hathaway in the hopes that America's most hated actress would take a tumble. But it was Jennifer who stumbled (Hugh Jackman got up to save her fall) and made a joke about how the tumble was the only reason for her standing ovation. It's sad that this was one of the most exciting moments at the 85th Annual Academy Awards.
Yes, this year the Oscars were boring. Well, I don't know if "boring" is the right word. The ceremony is always kind of boring, right? There is the thrill of seeing the host's monologue and the first big Supporting Actor/Actress category. But, typically, that's only followed by the lull of the shorts and documentaries, and then the technical categories before, finally, the ceremony rewards the biggest categories of the night. In recent years, the onslaught of Oscar prognostication in publications and across the Internet created a race that is almost predetermined before the envelopes were opened. (Speaking of which, did we notice that Meryl Streep didn't seem to look at the contents of her envelope, instead decreeing Daniel Day-Lewis the Best Actor winner because she is Meryl F-ing Streep and she can just say so?) This year, the show just seemed more tedious, filled with missed opportunities, some unfortunate technical difficulties, and a muddled tone.
The ceremony was something out of both a frat boy and a homosexual's fever dream. The frat boys had host Seth MacFarlane and his typical potty humor — his schtick included a song about boobs, jokes about pretty girls, comments about how he is decidedly not gay even though everything that has to do with musicals is gay, and edgy quips that could come off racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic if you look at them in the wrong light. (After all, the only thing that Seth MacFarlane likes more than a funny voice is a Jew joke.) Then, well, you had all the gay stuff about musicals. And Barbra Streisand. And musicals. And gay people winning awards. But wait — that didn't happen because Tony Kushner and How to Survive a Plague were robbed. Well, at least the gays just got the musicals!
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The theme this year had something to do with movie musicals, which could have been a great boon for the production value of the show. Given that the ceremony was produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the unambiguously gay duo that specialize in bringing Broadway to the screen, it was the perfect opportunity. Yet the musical salute seemed to be more of a tribute to their musical Chicago than musicals in general. Did we really need to stare into Renée Zellweger's disappearing eye slits as the cast of Chicago reunited on stage?
Plus, we were forced to be privy to a paltry selection of musicals in the tribute itself — only Chicago, Dreamgirls, and a medley from Les Miserables that would make you claw your own ears off were highlighted during the ceremony. Nothing from Best Picture musicals like Gigi, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, or even The Sound of Music? (Instead, the latter Best Picture winner was referenced merely in a Von Trapp Nazi joke.) There is a rich cinematic history of musicals, so where are all the old production numbers that might get people who love Glee logging onto Netflix to watch Sweet Charity? They were in the same place as Zellweger's old face, apparently.
While Shirley Bassey singing "Goldfinger" was one of the highlights of the show, it's difficult to determine just how her package was a tribute to the songs of James Bond. A montage, a few strings from "Live and Let Die," and Bassey's "Goldfinger" — couldn't we have crammed a few more songs in there? Where was Tina Turner, Madonna, Sheryl Crowe, and Duran Duran? 007's case would have been much stronger if the ceremony had capped the tribute off with Adele's "Skyfall," which was inexplicably placed later in the ceremony. (And I couldn't have been the only one left wondering why the Oscars only featured three out of the five Best Original Song entries.)
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Adele's number later ("Skyfall" from Skyfall, of course) was well done, though her nerves — or perhaps sound issues — led to mixed feelings surrounding her comeback. Barbra Streisand, on the other hand, killed her version of "The Way We Were" to cap the In Memoriam montage. But the sound problems only returned for MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth's amusing "Let's Hear it for the Losers" soft shoe to end the night.
The musical numbers weren't the only thing plagued with problems during the Oscars. The banter and gags throughout the show fell on unamused ears. The usually always amazing Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy bombed with a gag about voice work when presenting Best Animated Feature. And things only got worse: Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Downey Jr. did a confusing bit surrounding a teleprompter argument before awarding Best Cinematography. Was it a joke? Or were they really arguing? Whatever the case, it was awful. And it's just best not to talk about Kristen Stewart's complete inability to annunciate, right?
What's strange, though, is the awards show managed to be the most boring Oscars with the most shocking wins. If you actually picked Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor in your Oscar Pool, then you are a better man than I am. The same goes for Ang Lee, who took home Best Director. Even Lawrence lurched toward victory despite talk that Emmanuelle Riva was poised to steal Oscar gold. The awards this year weren't as cut and dried as they often are (we even had a shocking and exciting tie, but it was for Sound Editing, a category no one can adequately describe not to mention care about), so 2013's ceremony did offer some suspense.
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But not enough to make up for the lack thereof in the night's speeches. When Daniel Day-Lewis becomes known as 2013's class clown, you know the Oscars are in bad shape. There were no animated speeches, no expletive-ridden speeches, and no embarrassing speeches. Anne Hathaway wasn't needy enough, Quentin Tarantino wasn't crazy enough, and Lawrence, maybe thrown off by her bobble, was far more flustered and less winning that we've become used to this awards season. The most remarkable thing about the winners is how they were all trying to outdo Saruman from The Lord of the Rings with their identical long, white hair. Still, Ben Affleck managed to be winning, bringing himself close to tears when Argo won for Best Picture. (The best revenge for a Gigli joke from MacFarlane.)
Speaking of Best Pictures, Michelle Obama shocked us all by appearing on a screen to read the winner and the Oscars said, "Screw you, Golden Globes, for thinking you're so cool that you have Bill Clinton." Yes, there were plenty of surprises and, I'm sure, plenty of moments that will become iconic, but for a show that was more than 30 minutes too long and much longer than most in recent memory, there didn't seem to be that much return on the investment of our time. It was so long, but, for what? All that Captain Kirk stuff at the beginning? All those extraneous musical numbers that seemed more poised to sell Blu-rays than actually educate the public? When the big highlight is Jennifer Lawrence almost embarrassing herself (as if that's possible), you know Oscar has plenty to work on before 2014.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images]
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Just when you thought that Hollywood might be sick of superhero movies, the boon continued this summer. The Avengers made more green than The Hulk, The Dark Knight Rises raked in the dough despite its tragic opening weekend, and The Amazing Spider-Man showed that even a reboot after five years is not only possible but will make a ton money. By now, every superhero has gotten his own movie. Iron Man was a second tier star until Robert Downey, Jr. made him a hero. We've seen Daredevil, Ghost Rider (and a sequel!), and The Green Lantern, so why can't one of comicdom's marquee stars get a project greenlit? Yes, I'm talking about Wonder Woman.
News came yesterday that there is yet another Wonder Woman project in the works. Vulture reports that The CW has ordered a script for a show called Amazon that would be about the origins of Diana of Themyscira, the Amazonian princess who one day becomes Wonder Woman. I'm sorry, but I'm not holding my breath. We've been burned by Wonder Woman projects before. It was just last year that NBC passed on a Wonder Woman pilot starring Adrianne Palicki and written by David E. Kelley. And, of course, there is the Joss Whedon film version of the comic we've been promised for ages, another movie version by Nicolas Winding Refn , and another new one written by Michael Goldenberg. When it comes to the Lady of Steele we get lots of promises, but no one ever delivers.
The last time we've seen Wonder Woman on screen was the campy '70s version starring Lynda Carter, but nothing in the past three decades. Batman had a campy retro show too, and he's had eight movies made about him since then. What's the problem with Wonder Woman? The conventional wisdom is that her story is hard to tell, that she doesn't have many compelling villains, and that her character isn't especially interesting. All of that is kind of bulls***.
There is a very simple reason that Wonder Woman needs to make it to one of our screens, big or small, in the near future: sexism. Yes. I said it. Wonder Woman may cause more problems than the average superhero in terms of her origin and rogues gallery, but what it looks like is that she is the only one who doesn't have a movie because she is a woman. The writers, directors, and other creatives in the entertainment industry can solve any problem, and they could crack the Wonder Woman code if they really wanted to. These are the people that made a hit out of Disney ride about pirates (and a flop out of a board game about plastic boats). A lady superhero shouldn't be that big of a challenge.
I would like to think that the movie industry isn't sexist, and if Hollywood doesn't want the population at large to think that either, then they need to get their act together and stop wasting Wonder Woman. She's a huge cultural icon, and the fact that she doesn't have her own franchise while so many lesser-knowns do is just plain unfair and reeks of bias. It's bad enough that there aren't many female superheroes to start with, so we can't ignore the biggest one we've got.
And it's not a business decision. We live in the world of Sex and the City: The Movie, Bridesmaids, Twilight, and The Hunger Games. Women have proven that they go to the movies and that they can make something a blockbuster. Hollywood needs to stop acting like it's a fluke every time someone with two X chromosomes buys a movie ticket to something her boyfriend didn't choose. Thanks to Katniss and Angelina Jolie, they've also proven that a female action hero is just as bankable as a male one. It's time that the movie industry has the balls to put someone without any on the marquee.
There is one final reason that we need our very own Wonder Woman, but it probably isn't an argument that is going to get the executives and agents all riled up to fast track either the film or the TV show that we've been continuously promised. It's that we need a hero. All of us. Well, all the rest of us. All the rest of us on the outside. We need someone to look up to. No matter how dark and brooding Batman or Spider-Man or Superman or any of the other "Man"s get, they will always be part of the establishment. They will always be popular. Wonder Woman has always been the hero for everyone else. For the women ignored by the comics industry and the entertainment industrial complex. For the gay kids who identified more with her brand of heroism than the brute strength of Wolverine. For those who dreamed big but didn't think there was anyone out there fighting for them. We had Wonder Woman.
By continuing to ignore her, you're only reinforcing what all of us square pegs already felt: that what we want doesn't matter. Sure, courting the misfits might not seem like a winning box office strategy, but the thing about misfits is there are a lot of us. A lot of little people that add up to a huge opening weekend. And whenever you give us what we want, we'll show up. If you put the energy into making it good, we'll show up and make Wonder Woman a success. We'll show everyone who underestimated us with a sound defeat. After all, that is something we learned from Wonder Woman.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: DC Comics]
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